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FIF 208 Food and Drink: From Homer to Mrs. Beeton

Course Description

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." (Brillat-Savarin). True? If so, what did that make Greeks, Romans, and everybody else? Review cookbooks, menus, and recipes, as well as social history, chefs’ biographies, and food and drink in literature from Petronius to Proust. Discuss broader questions such as: Did languages evolve from communal eating? (Brillat-Savarin again.) Was ancient Mediterranean eating as healthy as is nowadays assumed? Did vegetarianism exist throughout the ages? Are there correlations between diet and behaviour? What really happened at Greek philosophical symposia and Roman orgies? Was there classical wine snobbery? Were there ancient celebrity chefs? While the main focus is on ancient civilizations, there will also be some emphasis on the Middle Ages plus the 18th and 19th centuries.


There is a 20% reduced fee for students 65 years of age or older at the time of registration. You must register by phone (403-220-2952) or in person to receive this discount.

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